Jules Léotard

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Jules Léotard
Jules Léotard2.jpg
Born Jules Léotard
1 March 1838
Toulouse, France
Died 17 August 1870 (aged 32)
Toulouse, France
Known for Trapeze

Jules Léotard (1 March 1838 – 17 August 1870) was a revolutionary French acrobatic performer who developed the art of trapeze. He also popularised the one-piece gymwear that now bears his name and was the inspiration for the 1867 song "The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze" sung by George Leybourne.

Early career[edit]

Léotard was born in Toulouse, France, the son of a gymnastics instructor. After he passed his law exams, he seemed destined to join the legal profession. But at 18 he began to experiment with trapeze bars, ropes and rings suspended over a swimming pool. Léotard later joined the Cirque Napoleon.


  • Michael Diamond, Victorian Sensation, (Anthem Press, 2003) ISBN 1-84331-150-X. Pp. 262–264.

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